Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne will travel to the United Kingdom on 10 July to take part in the Defence Industry Dialogue with the UK.
The dialogue is an important platform to discuss deeper defence industry collaboration and ways in which Australia and the UK can collectively enhance defence capability.
As part of the dialogue, Minister Pyne will meet with UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson CBE and the UK Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb.
“Australia’s relationship with the United Kingdom has always been one of our strongest. This relationship is grounded by substantial bilateral defence engagement and shared contribution to global security challenges,” Minister Pyne said.
"The Australian defence industry agenda is a new and rapidly expanding dimension of our relationship with the United Kingdom, more so following the recent decision by the Turnbull government to select BAE Systems to design Australia’s nine Future Frigates to be built by ASC in South Australia."
The decision for the SEA 5000 program provides increased avenues for strategic and industry co-operation and interoperability as both nations begin the procurement and construction phase of their Type 26 Frigate procurement.
Additionally, as the UK Government's long awaited decision on their E-3 Sentry AWACs replacement gets closer, with Boeing's E-7A Wedgetail, designed by Boeing for the RAAF as the sole front runner, the timing of Minister Pyne's visit in the lead up could present some added opportunities to plug Australia's AEWC capability and open avenues for Australian industry expertise in training, maintenance and operation for the UK.
Minister Pyne said, “This decision represents a significant milestone in a new and rapidly expanding dimension of our relationship with the United Kingdom and I look forward to meeting with Secretary Williamson and Minister Bebb to discuss how we can work together to grow the industrial bases of our respective nations.”
As part of the visit, Minister Pyne will also meet with a range of industry and think tank leaders, and represent Australia at official RAF 100 commemoration events.
The minister's visit to the UK comes on the back of his recent trip to Israel as part of the Australia-Israel Defence Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group in Tel Aviv, which aimed to build closer, collaborative relationships between Australian and Israeli defence industry.